Manipulation of adult body composition by treatment of the neonatal rat with growth hormone and prolactin

I. T. Kadim, S. N. McCutcheon*, R. W. Purchas, G. A. Wickham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies involving fetal decapitation or hypophysectomy, and the treatment of neonates with hormones or antibodies, have suggested that changes in pituitary hormone status during the perinatal period may influence later body composition. In the present study, rats were treated for the first 21 days of life with twice daily subcutaneous injections of saline, recombinant bovine growth hormone (bGH) or pituitary ovine prolactin (oPRL). The bGH and oPRL were administered at doses of 0.2 or 0.4 μg/g bodyweight/day. One-third of the rats in each treatment group were slaughtered at each of days 21, 60 and 120 of life and measurements made of: length and weight of the body; weights of bones and muscle groups in the hindlimb; weights of four fat depots (120-day group only); and the content of nitrogen (N) and fat in the carcass. bGH, but not oPRL, treatment increased weight of the femur and humerus (across ages) but neither treatment had marked effects on weights of muscle groups, carcass weight or carcass N content at any age. Both bGH and oPRL treatment significantly reduced weight of the subcutaneous scapular fat depot and reduced carcass fat content, but only in animals aged 120 days (i.e. 99 days after the cessation of treatment). It is concluded that treatment of rats with bGH and oPRL during the immediate postnatal period specifically retards the ability of animals to deposit body fat in later Life by mechanisms which differ from those involved in the classical lipolytic/antilipogenic effects of bGH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-205
Number of pages5
JournalGrowth Regulation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Body composition
  • Neonate
  • bGH
  • oPRL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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